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U.S. VP Pence inspects Japan’s missile defense system

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited a Japanese PAC-3 missile battery, Japan's last line of defence against any possible North Korean missile strike, in Tokyo on Wednesday (February 7) on his way to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Pence watched the battery raised to a firing position and got a briefing before shaking hands with members of the self-defence Forces, as Japan’s military is known. He was accompanied by Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and Japan’s highest ranking military officer, Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano.

Pence will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later on Wednesday for talks expected to showcase the tight U.S.-Japan security alliance in the face of the threat from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea test-fired ballistic missiles over Japan last year, as well as a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that climbed to an altitude of more than 4,000 km (2,485 miles) before splashing into the sea within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

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